Our Favorite Places: Mexico City

One of the world’s most magical cities, the vibrant capital of Mexico, is ideal for a luxury getaway, be it a long weekend or a week or more. Mixing the past and present, Aztec temples stand alongside colonial architecture and modern buildings in the city center. It offers everything from intriguing historical landmarks to high-end shopping for artisanal-made items and 5-star fine dining. Often called “CDMX,” the abbreviation simply stands for Ciudad de México. Once referred to as “DF” for the Federal District, its new name came about just over a decade ago as part of a political campaign to rebrand the capital.

No matter what you call Mexico City, you’re bound to fall head over heels. There’s a museum on practically every corner, a burgeoning art scene with many new galleries, and it’s at the forefront of a booming gastronomic revolution. Once immersed in its vibrant culture, it’s no surprise to discover why Time Out named Mexico City the world’s best city for culture in 2023. The lively party culture starts on Thursdays and can range from mariachi festivals to parades, salsa dancing, and boat parties. Yet, perhaps no event shows off the essence of CDMX quite like the Centro Histórico Festival, an annual celebration of culture that takes place each April.

A WORD ON SAFETY: Overall, Mexico City is safe for tourists. Like any big city, pickpocketing is common in areas where big crowds gather, so you’ll want to use common sense precautions such as keeping a close eye on belongings and avoiding the display of obvious wealth such as flashy jewelry. Use only reputable transportation services, such as the private transfers that CIRE Travel can arrange. If venturing out on your own, your hotel concierge will be a good resource for any areas of town to avoid.

Ready to plan your trip? Our team of expert luxury travel planners will be happy to help you get the most out of an exclusive escape, from arranging the most luxurious accommodations to unforgettable tours, exceptional dining experiences, and more.

Stay: Luxury Hotels in Mexico City

When deciding where to stay in Mexico City, the prime neighborhoods are Polanco and Roma Norte. Swanky Polanco is ideal for visitors who love foodie-focused restaurants, upscale shopping, and lavish global hotel brands. Trendy Roma Norte has a hip, young vibe, ideal for foodies and travelers seeking a cultural experience and buzzing nightlife. Both neighborhoods share a bohemian, urban blend with just the right balance of heritage and modern lifestyle.

La Valise

Translating to “The Suitcase,” La Valise is in the fashionable Roma neighborhood within walking distance of many contemporary galleries. Set in a 1920s colonial-style townhouse, it’s an ode to art itself, with interiors blending European flair and Mexican folk influences. With only eight suites, each one possesses its own unique features and charm. You’ll find an outdoor tub in Cilene, a hammock and swing in Gravity, and a bed that can be slid onto the terrace for sleeping beneath the stars in Polaris.

Brick Hotel

Tucked among the Roma district’s galleries, museums, and cafes, the Brick Hotel fuses historic character with contemporary luxury. The bricks used to construct the Belle Epoque building traveled all the way from England in the early 20th century and the hotel’s owners shared part of their personal, multi-million-dollar art collection to decorate the public spaces. The split-level Rooftop Suite stands out as a favorite, boasting a terrace adorned with daybeds and a luxurious freestanding tub. The hotel’s onsite spa has an enticing menu of blissful therapies as well as a steam room and hot tub. Indulge in everything from classic massage treatments to holistic offerings such as reflexology and agave body wraps to soothe the mind and body.

Casa Polanco

Casa Polanco is a beautifully renovated Spanish Revival-style mansion where you might feel as though you’re staying with well-to-do friends. Friends who know how to walk the line between attentive and unobtrusive that is. Nestled in the heart of the posh Polanco district, this boutique hotel offers a tranquil setting bordered by a park frequented by locals for afternoon strolls. The luxe spa is located in a separate, quiet building that looks out onto the park, while a well-equipped gym beckons you to work off all that delicious food you’re bound to eat. La Veranda is a charming on-site restaurant that hosts daily afternoon tea, as well as mezcal tastings. Additional hotel luxuries include a set of clothes pressed daily and electric bikes for exploring at your leisure.

Las Alcobas

A chic, 5-star boutique hotel in the Polanco neighborhood, Las Alcobas is a member of Marriott’s Luxury Collection. Its 35 rooms all feature smart control systems, premium mattresses with Rivolta Carmingnani linens imported from Italy, and marble bathrooms with whirlpool tubs and rain showers. For the ultimate indulgence, reserve the Presidential Penthouse Suite, boasting an indoor/outdoor fireplace and a wrap-around terrace. Your every need is anticipated with attentive butler service,  and you’ll have access to the pampering spa with treatments based on age-old healing techniques and regional indigenous ingredients.

Eat: Best Restaurants in Mexico City

Taller Xilotl

An intimate hidden gem in the Juarez neighborhood, known for its cosmopolitan vibe and old-world charm, Taller Xilotl showcases the talent of young Mexican chefs. Every guest is welcomed like a regular, and while the space may be small, the flavors are big. Among its culinary delights, the tacos reign supreme, often referred to as the best in the city. Whether ordering the chipotle shrimp taco, the tuna tostada, or the fresh butter scallops, you can be sure it will be masterfully crafted and equally delicious.


A gastronomic project led by Alejandra Flores and Jorge Vallejo, Quintonil has been included in The World’s Best 50 Restaurants since 2015. The menu reflects the flavors of Mexican ingredients with boundary-pushing cuisine featuring fresh, local ingredients. While there are a la carte options, the nine-course tasting menu stands out as an experience not to be missed. Each dish is perfectly balanced. From the Atocpan-style mole paired with sourdough bread to the Moroccan crab enveloped in a green sunflower seed pipian, every dish is a testament to the chef’s culinary artistry. Advice from CIRE vacation and honeymoon advisor, Esther Klijn: “I highly recommend getting a seat at the bar at Quintonil so you may witness the chef’s full orchestra in the kitchen.”


Pujol is another winner, coming in consistently towards the top of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants rankings. Deeply rooted in Mexican fare, traditional recipes are elevated in a unique way. While the menu undergoes seasonal changes, the iconic Mole Madre remains a staple. This signature dish features two concentric rings of meticulously prepared Mexican mole, with one aged for an astounding 2,500 days. Equally acclaimed, the Tacos Omakase dish is frequently praised for its presentation and exquisite flavors. Pujol’s dishes are small but complex, leaving ample room for a decadent dessert.

Ling Ling

Ling Ling boasts a privileged position above the Ritz-Carlton on the top floor of one of the tallest skyscrapers along Paseo de la Reforma. It offers relaxed dining on Pan-Asian dishes, designed to be shared while complemented by the best views of the city. If you aren’t up for a full meal, it’s the perfect spot for a celebratory drink and small plates like Confit Duck Bao and Bee Pollen Chicken.

Do: Best Things to Do in Mexico City

With an intoxicating blend of ancient and modern, you could spend decades in Mexico City and barely scratch the surface. As your expert travel team at CIRE, we’ve visited CDMX numerous times, and have trusted partners on the ground to ensure you’ll get the most out of your trip.

Take in a Bird’s-Eye View from a Helicopter

There may be no better way to begin your exploits of Mexico’s capital than a helicopter tour. You’ll enjoy a unique aerial perspective of the sprawling metropolis and surrounding mountains. From this vantage point, you’ll gain a newfound appreciation for the sheer expanse of Chapultepec, the city’s renowned park, sprawled beneath you. Iconic landmarks like Palacio of Bellas Artes and Zocalo, and the bustling street life below can be viewed as well. The ride remains unbeatable for capturing stunning photographs you can share with friends and family at home.

Savor the City’s Flavors on a Street Food Tour

Get to know the city by savoring some of its best flavors on a street food tour with Club Tengo Hambre (“Club I’m Hungry”). It includes six different stops, allowing you to sample a diverse array of regional specialties that can’t be found outside of the capital. From hidden gems to local favorites, a food tour is a fantastic way to find restaurants that would otherwise remain undiscovered. CIRE COO Amy Brueckner recommends doing a food tour in your first few days: “My husband and I did a long weekend in Mexico City a few years ago. We went on a private street food tour with Club Tengo Hambre on our first day, which was not only a great way to get an overview of the city and its neighborhoods, but also a preview of local delicacies that we otherwise might not have tried or known about.” Speaking of local delicacies, don’t miss the chance to sip on pulque, an ancient fermented beverage once reserved for Aztec royalty, included as part of this immersive experience. Come hungry!

Sunrise Hot-Air Balloon Ride Over the Teotihuacan Pyramids

One of the most memorable experiences you can have in Mexico City will take you about 30 miles outside the capital to the pyramids of Teotihuacan. This massive UNESCO-listed archaeological site stands as a testament to the once flourishing pre-Columbian city, boasting a population of around a quarter-million residents at its peak. Explore the ruins on the ground with a knowledgeable guide who brings it all to life, but also consider a sunrise hot-air balloon ride to see it from above. Watching the sunrise, splashing colorful hues across the site and its fascinating pyramids, is one of the most magical experiences you can have while visiting Mexico City.

Private Tour of the National Museum of Anthropology

The National Museum of Anthropology is Mexico’s largest and most visited museum. Located in Chapultepec, one of the largest urban parks in the Western Hemisphere, the best way to explore it is on a private tour with an expert in Mesoamerican culture. You’ll see the country through a whole new lens by the end of this highly curated, bespoke experience, gaining insight into the profound significance of ancient wisdom for the future of humanity.

A Treat for the Senses with a VIP Tour of the Famous Floating Gardens

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Xochimilco is a remarkable vestige of the region’s pre-Hispanic past, with the extensive canal and lake system once connecting most of the settlements in the valley. Float along the aromatic flower-filled canals in a colorful traditional flat-bottomed boat called a trajinera on your VIP tour of the gardens. You’ll go deeper than what most visitors see for an impressive look at how locals are preserving endangered native aquatic life and protecting their cultural heritage.

High-end shopping

When it comes to high-end shopping, you’ll find plenty in CDMX. Posh Polanco is known as the

“Beverly Hills of Mexico City,” mostly for the abundance of international brands like Bulgari and Dolce & Gabbana. However, the district’s allure extends beyond mainstream labels, offering local and indie designs as well as exquisite period pieces. Among these hidden gems is Rodrigo Rivero Lake’s office, nestled within a penthouse apartment, where visitors can discover a curated collection of sculptures, paintings by major modern Mexican artists, and museum-quality antiques.

Chic By Accident has been one of the must-visit destinations in Mexico City for vintage furniture and eclectic arts and crafts. Curated by French founder and current CDMX resident Emmanuel Picault, this destination showcases art, ranging from a 1930s Art Deco Oaxacan vase to intricately crafted clay sculptures and vibrant Mexican masks. Housed in a restored 1920s townhouse, the store spans four floors, serving as both a retail space and a dynamic gallery, attracting an international design crowd. For anyone seeking local creativity, including authentic handcrafted pottery and textiles, Casa de Luna in Coyoacan Center is a must. Nearly everything in the shop is handmade and exquisitely crafted.

For sustainable high-end fashion, 180º Shop in Roma offers unique clothing, shoes, and jewelry from Mexican designers. The store focuses on elegant, drapey clothing, offering everything from kimono-inspired jackets to paper bag trousers.

Catch a Concert at Palacio de Bellas Artes

Set in a magnificent early 1900s building constructed in several architectural styles, with a mostly Art Deco interior and Art Nouveau exterior, Palacio de Bellas Artes is not only one of Mexico’s finest art museums but the place to go for a wide range of performances. Secure the finest seats to performances that  span theater, music, dance, and opera, all while basking in the palace’s remarkable grandeur.

Discovering the wonders of Mexico City is just the beginning of the extraordinary adventures that await you on an exclusive getaway meticulously curated by CIRE, your expert travel advisor.  One thing is certain, you’ll be scheduling your next trip before this one is even finished.

CIRE Travel is a full-service travel agency headquartered in New York, NY.  Our expert corporate travel planners, honeymoon travel agents, and luxury travel planners support clients across the country and around the world.

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